Written by Eric Joseph Flores, B.S. in Computer Science III.
Furniture are useful to human beings. They provide storage, comfort, and support other human activities. Nowadays, the purpose of furniture are not only limited to that. Some people want furniture that are pleasing to their eyes and at the same time useful. Furniture makers are the ones that make this happen.
The person I interviewed is a long time wood furniture maker. Coincidentally, we have the same first name. His name is Mr. Eric Roque and he has been making wooden furniture for almost 15 years. Mr. Roque was originally from Manila and transferred to Iloilo City because he married a woman who lives in Molo. He is thirty-three years old and lives with his wife and their son who is ten years old.
Mr. Roque started building wooden furniture at a young age. He said that when he was a child, his job was only sanding furniture and materials to make them have a fine texture. While doing that job, he observes his other co-workers building furniture. So he decided to try and practice building during his free time or when he gets home. He said that the first thing he tried to practice and master is measuring the materials and other objects using measuring tools. For him, this is the most important thing to learn in order to build wooden furniture because the dimensions and measurement should be precise for the furniture to be balanced, sturdy and to really capture the exact size that was planned for that furniture. He also said that if one doesn’t know how or have an idea in measuring objects then one cannot be able to build good wooden furniture products or at worst, won’t be able to build at all. After that, he practiced other carpentry skills like sawing, hammering, and the likes. He said that during the past, he practiced these every day until he was able to successfully build wooden furniture by himself. After two years of practicing, he was able to master these skills.
Mr. Roque currently works for a company named Woodsmith Builders and Supply located at South Fundidor Molo, Iloilo City, which provides finished wood furniture products and materials to customers and stores. He said that most of his products are by request. This means, that he is usually given a design to follow which will be turned into reality. They also provide designs for the customers to choose from. It takes skills to turn those plans and design to reality.
Mr. Roque often works alone on individual furniture like chairs, small tables, and cabinets but when it comes to large projects he collaborates with other co-workers to make the work faster. He creates these products at their small workshop in St. Peter Subd. Villa, Iloilo City and are exported to their main store. He said that these products takes at least three days to be produced from raw materials like mahogany, plywood, or thick wood which are purchased and delivered to their workplace.
Mr. Roque broke down the process in building wooden furniture into seven steps. First, He selects the wood type to be used for the furniture. Second, he uses a planer to make the wood fine and to achieve a flat surface. Third, he cuts the wood into specific sizes based on what was planned using a circular saw. This is a critical step because mistakes in cutting could waste the materials. Fourth, he assembles these pieces into one using hammer and nails. Fifth, he uses sand paper to make ensure that the surface is smooth. Then, he draws outlines of the design on the product using a pencil then he uses a chisel or a knife to make it. Lastly, he applies varnish or paint to finish it off. The result is a visually aesthetic wooden furniture that can serve its purpose.
Furniture making is not just an easy thing to do. For Mr. Roque, It takes skills and experience to master it and to be able to produce visually aesthetic and sturdy products. Not everyone can do it. It takes patience and determination to create a good product starting from raw materials. According to Mr. Roque, he finds inspiration from his son and wife. He is motivated to do his craft to give them a better life, to continue sending his son to school, and to provide for his family’s everyday needs.
If one is interested in buying wood furniture, they could visit Woodsmith Builders and Supply in South Fundidor Molo, Iloilo City where Mr. Roque’s work are exported or one could go directly to the workshop where Mr. Roque works, at St. Peter Subd. Villa Arevalo, Iloilo City. One can also call the owner of Woodsmith Builders Supply and the workshop, Mr. Antonio Bueno Jr., with this number 09303796281.